North Korean officials did not attend a planned meeting with Americans to discuss the return of US soldiers’ remains, officials have said.
Kim Jong Un had committed to returning the remains of the troops from the 1950-53 conflict during talks with US President Donald Trump on 12 June.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo did not acknowledge a question about the no-show when reporters asked him in Brussels on Thursday.
While visiting Pyongyang last week, Mr Pompeo said that a Pentagon team would meet with the North’s officials in or around Panmunjon – the truce village on the border between North and South Korea.
A US official waited at the border of the village but no North Korean official showed up, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
“The US wanted to have talks as early as 12 July but the North did not seem to be ready,” an unnamed Seoul official said.
“Both the US and the North are still in discussion over when to meet,” the official added.
North Korea has offered to rearrange the meeting over war remains for Sunday instead, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
“Midday today they contacted us and offered to meet on Sunday. We will be ready,” she said in a statement.
Ms Nauert said North Korea’s vice chairman Kim Yong Chol had agreed to meet on or about 12 July in Panmunjom with an American delegation, but the meeting did not materialise.
It comes after Mr Trump released a “very nice note” from Mr Kim, signalling his optimism about efforts to end the nuclear stand-off with North Korea.
He shared the four-paragraph letter on Twitter, in which Mr Kim describes their 12 June summit – and the resulting joint statement – as the “start of a meaningful journey”.
“I firmly believe that the strong will, sincere efforts and unique approach of myself and Your Excellency Mr. President aimed at opening up a new future between the DPRK and the U.S. will sure surely come to fruition,” Mr Kim writes.
“I deeply appreciate the energetic and extraordinary efforts made by Your Excellency Mr. President for the improvement of relations between the two countries and the faithful implementation of the joint statement,” he adds.
Mr Pompeo travelled to Pyongyang for two days last week with the aim of fleshing out denuclearisation commitments, insisting the talks were making progress.
But Pyongyang warned that the future of the peace process was being jeopardised by “unilateral and gangster-like” US demands.